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Today, we graduate from college

9 May 2010

Today, we graduate from college. After seventeen years of schooling, we are finished with the trajectory that we started on. For some of us, this is not the end of our schooling, but nothing from here on out is as clear as everything has been up to this point.

Today, we graduate from college. Our childhood is over today and we become adults. Twenty-two years of growing and learning is coming to an end. We embark now on a world where it is our duty to raise and teach as we have been raised and taught.

Today, we graduate from college. Our lives as we know them are about to change radically. It is for that reason that some of us are scared: we do not know what awaits us. Our worries are not necessarily towards a specific thing, so it is not fear; rather, it is anxiety—anxiety towards the great unknown of the “rest of our lives”.

Today, we graduate from college. We say goodbye to hundreds of people who we know and will never see again, except by some fluke of fate. We will likely never see those who have become our best friends together in one place after today. The community we forged here is passing away, perhaps to become something more—a transcendent web of support rather than a set of friends by proximity.

Today, we graduate from college. We give thanks to those who inspired us along the way, for those who taught us in the classroom and without. For professors who taught us how to think rather than to regurgitate, how to look at the world afresh rather than through our own lenses, how to chase our passions without fear rather than following what would be “sensible” or “advisable”.

Today, we graduate from college. We enter a world deeply broken and disheartened by danger, violence, oppression, and degradation. We have been told that we can change the world, even if only one piece of it. We can make a difference. It is now up to us and those in robes around us to find that place where our deepest passion and the world’s greatest need meet.

Today, we graduate from college. We pass on the torch to those who will come after us here, in this place. Our voices now merges with the choir of voices—living and dead—who have hallowed these august halls, urging generations after us to come, to see, to hear; to love, to cry, to celebrate; to cheer, to learn, and to give.

Today, when we walk across the stage, we walk into the world. And the University community sings out, “Remember the lessons you learned here. Now go, and don’t stop believing.”

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